Anomalist Books - Go to home page Anomalist Logo - Go to homepage
NewsCatalogComing SoonBookstoreAbout Us

Much Food for Thought

May 18, 2009

hill-14-20-20.jpgPeter Brookesmith has kindly reminded us that we neglected to blog about what may be the best review we have ever seen to come out of Fortean Times. It’s not a coincidence that Brooksmith happens to be one of the two editors (with the late Karl Pflock) of the book in question: Encounters at Indian Head: The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Abduction Revisited. The “Fortean Times Verdict” on the book summed it up as “Intelligent, wide-ranging and a must have for UFOlogists” with a score of a perfect “10.” Bob Rickard, who reviewed the book, concluded: “It’s an exemplary debriefing on how a story grew in the telling, influencing the content of many ‘abduction’ experiences to follow and, in turn, giving birth to the ‘missing time’ school of self-referenced and highly subjective (but very bankable in terms of media) ufology. The lack of consensus on what happened to the Hills reflects a healthy division of opinion in ufology.” Bill Chalker echoed those words in his own review of the book for Australia’s UFOlogist magazine. “Encounters at Indian Head is an excellent study of why the uncertainties of human testimony alone will guarantee that there will always be room for doubt, and that resolution of a case of that type will always be dependent on one’s approach.” Chalker, like Rickard, also recommended the book. So with Brookesmith, that makes three.

hill-14-20-20.jpgNo, we’re not talking about the recent New Hampshire primary here. We’re talking UFO politics, which is as fiery and contentious as American politics these days. Our headline also happens to be the title of the two-page review of Encounters at Indian Head: The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Abduction Revisited that appeared in the October 2007 issue of Magonia by Peter Rogerson. It’s just what you would expect from a review in a journal that covers “Contemporary Vision and Belief.” It’s Rogerson’s belief that “the Hill story reads like a product of the human imagination.” Yet, Rogerson can’t help but drop a bombshell near the beginning of his review.“This is probably the first detailed reinvestigation of the Hill’s story in years…Right from [the first paper, by Dennis Stacy] there is a surprise. At a crucial point in Barney’s first encounter, where the public accounts have him grabbing a jack for protection, it is now revealed that he got a out a .22 caliber pistol which he had hidden in the trunk (importing guns into Canada is illegal). That’s an important point…”

So, yes, Encounters at Indian Head is finally beginning to get its day in the sun. Brockport Professor Stuart Appelle, in the course of reviewing another book on the Betty and Barney Hill story in the Winter 2007 issue of the Journal of Scientific Explorations, mentions our book, which was edited by Karl Plock and Peter Brooksmith: “This books contains a series of absolutely certain, yet diametrically opposed, opinion pieces stemming from a small conference in 2000.” Another reviewer, this time in Fortean Times, happens to mention our book as well – also in a review of that other book, and in much the same way – by describing the book as “a collection of papers by various hands whose responses to the story range from thoughtful acceptance to diligent scoffing.” Reviewer P.L. Frankson then follows this with a quick compliment, saying that the book under review is “a considerably less interesting read than Encounters…”

But the prize mention goes to Rebecca Rule, whose review of Encounters at Indian Head commanded a full page spread in the The Concord Monitor and other newspapers in New England this past weekend. After setting the stage for those not familiar with the Betty and Barney Hill story, Rule explains how the book came about, and then writes: “The 10 essays by nine experts range from highly technical and footnoted to deeply philosophical. We hear the Hills’ story from many perspectives…Encounters at Indian Head is an earnest attempt to fathom the unfathomable. It’s about much more than Betty and Barney and what happened to them. It’s about what we believe and why we believe it.” At the end, Rule kindly tosses off a flattering comment in our direction: “Anomalist Books specializes in ‘well-researched work on maverick science, unexplained mysteries, unorthodox theories, strange talents, and unexpected discoveries.’ It has quite a catalog. Check it out..” Thank you, Rebecca!

hill-14-20-20.jpgUFO researcher and author Nick Refern has given Encounters at Indian Head a very thorough review over at UFO Mystic. He praises the book as “quite possibly the most significant published piece of work on the [Betty and Barney] Hill affair to date.” Redfern particularly likes the way this book was done: “This is the sort of book that I have wanted to see published for a long time: namely one that sees a group of Ufologists, researchers and writers get together, debate and discuss a controversial case, argue and defend their respective positions, and then try and reach some form of conclusion.” In sum, he finds the book to be “a good, solid, wide-ranging study of one of the most famous, talked-about and important UFO cases of all time. And while the book contains a variety of theories from an equal variety of observers, all seem unanimous in the idea that – whatever the truth of the Hill affair – its effect and influence upon Ufology and alien abduction research and reports has been enormous.” You can read the entire review here.

hill-14-20-20.jpgJohn Fuller’s The Interrupted Journey is one of the two books (the other is The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects by Edward Ruppelt) that got us hooked on the UFO subject some 40 years ago. That book told the story the “first” UFO abduction, the Barney and Barney Hill encounter of September 1961. Fourteen years after the incident, NBC aired the story in a made-for-TV movie titled The UFO Incident with James Earl Jones as Barney Hill, and Estelle Parsons as Betty. Then in September of 2000, nearly 40 years after the original incident, a group of seasoned, independent UFO researchers got together at Indian Head, New Hampshire, to re-evaluate this classic UFO abduction case. Among the participants were Hilary Evans and Peter Brookesmith from the U.K., with Thomas ‘Ed’ Bullard, Karl Pflock, Dennis Stacy, and Robert Scheaffer from the U.S. Sociologist and veteran anomalist Marcello Truzzi chaired the meeting. And Betty Hill herself joined the group for an evening’s entertainment and a morning tour of the sites where, she says, she and Barney encountered aliens. What the participants concluded is recorded in our newest book, Encounters at Indian Head: The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Abduction Revisited, along with additional commentaries written especially for this book by the Hills’ first investigator, Walter N. Webb, and critical analyst Martin Kottmeyer. It was originally supposed to be published on the 40th anniversary of Betty and Barney Hill’s UFO abduction, but given trade publishing’s lack of interest in UFO books since the turn of the century, and other matters of both life and death, it hasn’t seen the light of day until now–thanks to Anomalist Books. Superbly edited by Karl Pflock and Peter Brookesmith, the book makes clear that the 2000 symposium at Indian Head was more than an exercise in diverse interpretations but a common quest to establish, as far as humanly possible, what actually happened to the Hills so many years ago.